Tag Archives: teamwork

Inclusion: diversity from a strategic perspective to get to high performing teams


InclusionIs diversity in a team really contributing to your results? Or is your team composed out of differing individuals for the sake of statistics. Get a high performing team by thinking about the composition of the different profiles. They named it inclusion and it will lead to challenging solutions, vibrant discussions and high performing teams. Read further to see what’s the difference between diversity and inclusion.

Today we had an interesting discussion about the difference between diversity and inclusion. If you don’t know the latter yet, don’t worry: we’ll explain it shortly and I’m convinced that you’ll hear it more in the coming year as it’s becoming a buzz word.

The fact that diversity is needed at the work floor (and anywhere else) is probably not so surprising to you. But diversity only looks at the numbers and combination of different individuals. You probably understand that combining different individuals can lead to sparks at the work floor, both in a good and less good way. Much diversity on the work floor does not guarantee a high performing organization.

Inclusion goes one step further though. As with diversity you would combine an unplanned mixed of individuals, inclusion looks at it from a strategic point of view: which combination of different profiles do you need in your team to be successful? For diversity to be successful, the leader must team carefully when composing his/her team.

Next to making a team high performing, inclusion is also about respecting each other as a person. A different person with underlying beliefs and values that might seem strange to us, but which are an enrichment to the team.

Leaders that are aware and self-conscious of the need for a diverse team, probably have been using inclusion before by thoroughly combining different profiles via screenings like Myers-Brigss Type Indicator (MBTI)the Big 5 personality traits, Belbin team roles, etc.

According to “Beyonders”, leading a diverse team can make an average leader insecure. Having this specific mix of individuals implies a guarantee for healthy conflicts and (more) heated discussions. In a successful team, composed via inclusion, it will be harder to get to consensus which results in more diverse solutions and paths to solutions to be found.

Managing and participating in an inclusive team can require more of your energy. It’s always easier if everybody agrees with you and you don’t have to convince others and fight for your solutions.

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Is your team inclusive?

How do you know that your team is composed inclusive? Take these small tests to see for yourself:

  • Outsiders look strange at your team having a discussion and think you’re having an argument, while the discussion seems everyday normal to you (there’s no fight going on).
  • You have the feeling that you complement each other.
  • Do a short test and ask for 3 solutions to a stated problem. Take a look at the different answers you got from the team.
  • Ask your leader why you in particular were selected for the team.

Thanks to my colleague Isabelle for making the difference clear to me and Katleen Destobbeleir of Vlerick Business School for inspiring Isabelle!

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